A scannable QR code appeared in the sky above China’s Shanghai to celebrate the anniversary of a video game release. 1,500 illuminated drones were creating characters from the Princess Connect video game and formed at the end a scannable QR code linking to the game’s website. Watch this very cool video.
One cannot develop a more powerful image to highlight opportunities offered by QR codes to bring together online and offline worlds.
QR (Quick Response) codes were created in 1994 for the Japanese automotive industry. It has since been used in many contexts, including Ecommerce, where it offers many exciting opportunities.
While similar to the linear barcodes, the QR code has several significant advantages:
- It can be scanned from both screen and paper.
- It stores a large volume of data.
- It is readable even if part of the code is damaged.
- The encoded information can be encrypted.
When a smartphone app scans and decodes QR code’s horizontal and vertical patterns, it converts them into a text string. That string is interpreted as a command to open an URL in a browser, confirm payment, verify location, or other operation.
QR codes offer numerous opportunities to implement true omnichannel experience in Digital Commerce. Their ability to connect offline experiences with online ones in conjunction with a mobile-optimized landing page can grab consumers’ attention and engage them at the exact point where they have shown interest in an ad or video.
Access to Product information
Customers are used to having detailed product information when shopping online, and there is an easy way to make it available in a physical store. When a QR code leads directly to a product page in an online store, the user skips many steps like typing the product code or name into a search box and finding which one is this specific product. The most significant advantage is that retailers can easily measure purchases done online from the physical store—a real omnichannel experience.
Showrooming refers to the practice of shopping in the physical store before buying online. With a QR code, retailers encourage customers to make an online purchase right in the store. Zara is one of the brands that take full advantage of QR codes by integrating them into price tags, allowing customers to check available colors and sizes.
Coupons and promotions
Embedding QR codes on product packages also allow revealing product-specific offers and discounts in addition to redirecting users to the product information page.
They can also be used to scan and redeem coupons or other promotional offerings for use in-store or online. A command encoded into a QR code can take the user directly to checkout, which could make the difference between a soon-forgotten ad and one that generates a sale.
QR codes can be embedded in any marketing materials and link to videos on YouTube or Vimeo. They are also used in videos as call-to-action encouraging viewers to interact with them.
The best thing about QR codes is that they are trackable. You can monitor QR Code performance and get invaluable user insights. Use tools from vendors like Beaconstac to learn how many users scanned the QR Code, who they were, where they were located, which device they used, and how they behaved.
QR Codes as Payment Methods
QR Codes are also great as contactless payments, and the pandemic made retailers looking for quick-to-implement ways to let customers pay from a distance. Smaller retailers can add software that generates a QR code for each purchase and start supporting QR Code payments on a tablet using service providers like Square or PayPal. At the same time, large chains like Walmart have POS terminals with QR code support.
Consumers are increasingly getting used to this convenient payment method, especially at restaurants, cafés, or convenience stores.
QR code payments can be implemented in several ways. Customers can use the QR code payment app to scan the code displayed on the checkout or on an individual product.
For quick grab & pay action, vendors that sell single items could place a QR code next to the product
The second approach is a merchant scanning a QR code on a customer’s phone screen that identifies the buyer’s card details.
QR Codes can also be used in app-to-app payments. Both buyer and the merchant open the relevant apps and scan unique QR codes displayed in their apps. The buyer confirms the amount to pay and taps to process the payment.
In China, it’s common to pay with QR codes, mainly through Alipay or WeChat. Source – Photo: Alipay
You can read more about how QR code payments work here
Get your creative juices flowing
There are many other innovative ways to incorporate QR codes into the omnichannel customer experience. Use QR codes to sign up for newsletters or loyalty programs, ask for feedback or product reviews.
You can guide customers to a store location connect QR Codes to an indoor navigation map to help a customer find a specific section within the store.
By printing a QR code on gift receipts, Amazon helps to build an emotional connection by allowing the receiver to quickly send a thank you note and learn more about the product they have received.
Pandemic has accelerated the adoption of QR codes in digital commerce, from product labels to payments. Dynamic QR codes are great for merchants and their customers, and we will keep seeing more and more uses in the future.